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Adult protection

Page posted: 7/23/04

Page reviewed: 3/2/18

Page updated: 3/2/18

Legal authority

Minn. Stat. §626.557, Minn. Stat. §626.5572, Minn. Stat. §402A.10


Adult protection: An essential human services program provided by a county/tribal nation or service delivery authority. Adult protection includes investigation and protection response to reports of suspected abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Vulnerable adult (VA): A person 18 years or older who meets one of the following criteria:

  • • Is a resident of a facility licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) or DHS
  • • Receives services from a provider licensed by MDH or DHS
  • • Receives PCA services
  • • Has an impairment that makes the person unable to meet his/her basic needs and protect himself/herself from harm.
  • Common entry point: Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC) is the 24/7 state-centralized common entry point (CEP) designated for reporting suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult. MAARC operates under DHS.

    Mandated reporter: Professionals required to report suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult. Mandated reporters include:

  • • Social service professionals
  • • Law enforcement
  • • Educators
  • • Professionals who care for vulnerable adults
  • • Providers licensed by DHS or MDH
  • • Enrolled Medical Assistance (MA) providers
  • • Medical examiners or coroners
  • Lead investigative agencies.
  • Lead investigative agency (LIA): Primary administrative agency responsible for responding to MAARC reports using prioritization guides for investigation. The LIA is determined by the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and a licensed service. LIAs are:

  • • Counties
  • • Office of the Inspector General
  • • Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Office of Health Facility Complaints.
  • Note: Only county and tribal agencies are responsible for offering adult protective services.

    Types of maltreatment

    Emotional abuse

    Emotional abuse is conduct that produces or could reasonably be expected to produce emotional distress. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Use of repeated or malicious oral, written or gestured language toward a vulnerable adult
  • Treatment of a vulnerable adult that a reasonable person would consider disparaging, derogatory, humiliating, harassing or threatening.
  • Financial exploitation

    Financial exploitation includes:

  • • Use, theft, possession or control of funds or property of a vulnerable adult through undue influence, harassment, duress, deception or fraud
  • • Forcing, compelling or enticing a vulnerable adult to perform services for the profit or advantage of another.
  • Neglect

    Neglect is the failure by a caregiver to provide a vulnerable adult with care or services including, but not limited to:

  • • Food
  • • Clothing
  • • Shelter
  • • Healthcare
  • • Supervision necessary for the vulnerable adult’s physical/mental health or safety.
  • Physical abuse

    Physical abuse is conduct that produces or could reasonably be expected to produce physical pain, injury or emotional distress. This includes:

  • • Criminal assault
  • • Hitting, slapping, kicking, pinching, burning or biting
  • • Punishment.
  • Physical abuse could also include:

  • • Restraints
  • • Unreasonable confinement
  • • Involuntary seclusion or forced separation of the vulnerable adult from a person of his/her choice.
  • Self-neglect

    Self-neglect occurs when a vulnerable adult does not meet needs for the food, shelter, clothing, healthcare or supervision necessary to maintain or attain his/her health.

    Sexual abuse

    Sexual abuse is contact or interaction of a sexual nature by a licensed provider involving a vulnerable adult, contact or interaction of a sexual nature with a vulnerable adult unable to give informed consent or when this conduct occurs without the vulnerable adult’s informed consent. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • • Rape
  • • Fondling or caressing
  • • Penetration or attempted penetration
  • • Sexual utilization of the vulnerable adult for gratification of others.
  • Reporting suspected maltreatment

    Mandated reporters

    Mandated reporters are required to report suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult immediately with the online MAARC Mandated Reporter Form or by calling MAARC at 1-844-880-1574.

    General public

    The public can report suspected maltreatment by calling MAARC at 1-844-880-1574.

    Adult protective services

    Adult protective services (APS) are provided by counties and tribal nations to safeguard a vulnerable adult who is the subject of a MAARC report. Counties and tribal nations offer APS in the least restrictive manner.
    APS includes:

  • • Offering and arranging healthcare, supervision and social services to prevent further maltreatment, serious injury, loss of health or death of a vulnerable adult
  • • Seeking authority to remove a vulnerable adult
  • • Seeking a restraining order
  • • Arranging for the appointment or replacement of a guardian or conservator
  • • Arranging for a sexual assault examination.
  • Training

    The Vulnerable Adults Mandated Training course introduces you to:

  • • The Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC)
  • • Definitions of maltreatment
  • • Vulnerable Adults Act
  • • Definition of mandated reporters.
  • Accessing the training

    DHS and county/tribal nation employees

    Go to TrainLink to register for the online course. Please see the Vulnerable Adult Mandated Reporting Online Training flier (PDF) for instructions.

    Providers, healthcare professionals and other interested parties

    The online course is available for free and without registration. Go to Vulnerable Adults Mandated Training to take the course.

    Additional resources


    APS Structured Decision Making and Standardized Tools – Guidelines and Procedures Manual, DHS-6762 (PDF)
    DHS Adult Protection Manual, DHS-6917 (PDF)

    MAARC VA-CEP Web-based Reporting Guide, DHS-5722E (PDF)

    CBSM pages

    CBSM – Ombudsman services
    CBSM – Vulnerable adults (VA) targeted case management.

    Other resources

    DHS – Adult protection: policies and procedure
    Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

    Older Minnesotans: Know Your Rights About Services, DHS-4134 (PDF)

    Report Suspected Abuse, Neglect or Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults, DHS-6778E (PDF)

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